Pink Floyd, a Spotify ‘Holdout’, Is Changing Its Mind…

Updated, Monday AM: That was fast! Spotify is already unlocking Pink Floyd tracks.

However you define a Spotify ‘holdout,’ Pink Floyd is clearly one of the biggest. But that’s about to change: the group, easily one of the largest in modern music history, is now preparing to load its entire catalog onto Spotify.

(Incidentally, the Pink Floyd catalog is available on competing streaming services like Rdio and Rhapsody. And of course, the iTunes Store.)

In order to generate the maximum publicity ahead of the Spotify move, the band is asking fans to stream “Wish You Were Here” one million times.

That will not only drive interest among streaming fans, but may offer some reassuring proof that fans actually want to stream this band with vigor.

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The promotion begins… now.

27 Responses

  1. Visitor

    Again, this should be Spotify’s slogan:

    Spotify — Oldies but Goodies!

    Prefer new stuff? Visit iTunes and YouTube.

    • Me

      That’s dumb. Right now I have the option to listen to the newest albums from Daft Punk, Vampire Weekend, The National, Queens of the Stone Age, Deerhunter, FIDLAR, Flaming Lips, Foals, Foxygen, The Growlers, Hands, IO Echo, Kate Nash, A$ap Rocky, The Knife, Local Natives, The Men, Phoenix, Savages, Suuns, Wavves, and tons more albums released in 2013. I don’t have to wait for the songs to download, and I can listen to them all for free.

      But, if I wanted to listen to 35 + year old songs from bands who haven’t released new music in decades (i.e. Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, etc.) I will go to iTunes, because these oldies are not on Spotify.

      • Lynch


        Not a Spotify user since I live in Canada, but I’m an unlimited Rdio subscriber and I don’t think there has been a single album I’ve looked forward to that I couldn’t stream the same day it was released elsewhere.

        How is youtube at all practical if you want to listen to the whole record on the go?

        It’s easy for him to knock these services when he admitted in yesterday’s article he hasn’t even tried them or used them. Just more dinosaurs scared of change. That’s the same problem that got the industry into this mess in the first place.

      • Fatso

        Its true. All the new popular music is available, and even old bands like Led Zeppelin and Beatles will have to read the writing on the wall. In a few years from now, I don’t think any young person will even consider buying music delivered on a piece of plastic or an annoying file, which you have to store somewhere on your computer. The streaming services like Spotify or Rdio simply offer too much convenience and accessability, so there is no going back.

        Of course old dinosaurs like Led Zeppelin have the right to be wierd and reject this new method of distributing music. However, the consequence in the long run for anyone doing that, will be that they will be ignored and forgotten. I don’t believe that a lot of bands find that option attractive.

        • Geir

          The “piece of plastic” will still have appeal to true music lovers, but sure, The Beatles etc. will eventually give in.

          However, they are not the only ones who will eventually give in. Those who listen to music on Spotify for free will also have to give in, and actually pay a monthly subscription. Which is also probably what it will take for all those big missing names to be included. Because it will increase the income for them.

    • jw

      I know you’ve got it in your mind that if you repeat this statement often enough it will become true. But that’s not how reality works.

      So much of this site, & sites like it, are about individuals trying to spin arguments in order to avoid dealing with reality. And maybe that’s just life in general. But it shouldn’t be.

      There’s just not that many artists that aren’t on Spotify. And the major holdouts (like Pink Floyd) are coming around at a pace that should really worry anyone who want to be taken seriously when they publicly question the legitimacy of Spotify’s library.

      Regarding new stuff… if I were to have pre-ordered QOTSA’s record during the iTunes preview stream, I would’ve downloaded it about the same time it would’ve appeared on Spotify. And what benefit is that to me? I just wasted ten bucks, basically. What’s being overlooked, and making the anti-Spotify crowd look quite silly, is that the iTunes preview stream is an isolated case where Spotify users might stream on iTunes for a week, but people who use Spotify aren’t going to actually pre-order the record from iTunes when they can just get it on release day at Spotify. There’s just no logic there, & the argument shows a gross misunderstanding of consumer behavior, & totally exaggerates any benefit iTunes has over Spotify with these preview streams. iTunes previews are about maximizing revenue the non-streaming crowd, & Spotify users stopping by iTunes for a listen are just edge cases that don’t mean anything. No one… and I repeat… NO ONE is converting from streaming back to downloading. That’s about as backwards ass a concept as anyone has expressed about music consumption in the last decade.

      Furthermore, whenever I want to listen to something that’s not on Spotify, I just download it from Amazon or BandCamp & put it in my Spotify local library folder & then sync it to my phone via the Spotify app. Voilà! Hole filled. Out of hundreds & hundreds & hundreds of albums I’ve listened to in the last year, the Dave Rawlings Machine record is the only holdout I can recall running into. Generally that’s not the reason stuff isn’t on Spotify… international releases like Jim Jones Revue’s the Savage Heart & Mando Diao’s Infruset (also native language) aren’t on Spotify OR iTunes (in the US, at least). The same went for Matt Mays’ Coyote until it got US distribution. And self-releases from before Spotify was available in the U.S., like Devin Davis’ Lonely People of the World Unite! (also not on iTunes) & the Films’ Don’t Dance Rattlesnake don’t show up. But these are issues that ANY music retail or streaming service is going to run into. Oh, & for some reason Chvrches decided to make their the Mother We Share single unavailable in the US on both Spotify AND iTunes.

      Other than all of that, these stories that support the idea that Spotify is somehow becoming the Netflix of the music world are very, very, very wishful thinking at best, delusion & irresponsible journalism at worst. There’s a greater story arch here… it’s vinyl to cassette tapes to cds to downloads to streaming, & no amount of iTunes preview streams is going to stop that. Sure, there’s problems with the streaming model that still need to get sorted (advertising online being fucked is the primary one), but that will sort itself out in time out of necessity.

      If digital downloads were a disruption akin to the transportation industry transitioning from the horse & buggy to automobiles, streaming is like the electric car… before it’s time, chastized & sabotaged by establishment, but UNQUESTIONABLY the future.

      • Just another voice inn the air

        I don’t what you do for a living, but you should be a writer for this site. The articles would be infintiely more credible and less saturated with hysterics. Keep it up dude.

        One question for you: Does the “streaming”
        space have the responsibilty to achieve the financial success of the CD boom?

        • jw

          That’s a good question. Here’s probably more than what you’re asking for.

          At the height of cd sales record labels were overcharging & underdelivering, which set the stage for Napster & its ilk. What was going on was never sustainable, Napster just happened to be what derailed things because the conditions were right. But even if they hadn’t been right, there would’ve been some other correction at some point… mostly likely in the form of cultural fragmentation. For a long time popular music was good enough, & mattered enough, or was at least a big enough spectacle to keep the attention of the general public. Even when it wasn’t good (the 80’s), it was still good enough & big enough relative to the other entertainment choices at the time. Somewhere along the line popular music lost its quality & its importance, & ceded ground to video games & social media & movies etc, & a lot of that was done in the name of short term profits. So when you compare music now to music then (i.e. pre-Napster), you’ve dipped below that line of critical cultural significance, & people are spending those dollars on other forms of media/entertainment.

          So does streaming have the responsibility to achieve the financial success of the CD boom? No, it’s only responsible for achieving a healthy, sustainable level of income.

          However, what bodes well for streaming is that people are spending much less on individual media purchases & much more on entertainment/media services. I pay ~$100 per month to AT&T for my cell phone service. And more than that to Comcast for tv/internet. In the mid-90s, expanded cable was ~$30 (~$45 after inflation) per month & AOL was ~$20 (~$30 after inflation) & a phone line was probably ~$20 (~$30 after inflation). Those are ballparks, but I think they’re pretty close. That’s ~$100 vs ~$250… a consumer in my demographic had an extra $150 to play with back then, some of which went to music purchases. The down side is that the reason consumers are willing to pay that much more for services is because they assume that they’re paying for the media they’ll consume via the services. People, right or wrong, feel like they’re paying for music when they pay their Comcast or AT&T bill, & for better or worse ad-supported streaming services reinforce this idea. And that model won’t be profitable any time soon because advertising on the internet is broken (see my rant midway down the Pandora comments thread).

          So how is Spotify going to generate a healthy, sustainable income? I think that once Spotify reaches a critical mass, they’ll limit the amount of music that can be played for free. I think that the ad supported model is just a growth tool, subsidized by the premium model (and venture capital), not a longterm play, given the state of internet advertising (however, that could eventually change). Additionally, as bandwidth continues to grow and the premium streams go from 320kbps to full resolution streams, & as computing continues to move towards mobile devices, the differenciation between free & premium accounts will drive increased subscriptions.

          $120/yr is much more than the average consumer was spending on music at the height of the CD boom… it’s just a question of how many consumers pick up the premium subscription. And I think that the features (i.e. full resolution quality, mobile access) will drive a very significant portion of music listening consumers to convert, & (while this is speculation… call me an optimist if you wish) I see streaming services eventually eclipsing the CD in terms of revenue. Give it 10 years, just as advances in bandwidth & mobile computing fueled iTunes eclipsing cd sales, the same factors will drive subscription revenue to the top (only this time it will be a revenue BUMP as opposed to a revenue SLASH… i.e. consumers spending $120/yr rather than whatever they’re spending now which is much less, versus consumers spending $.99 or $1.29 when they would’ve previously spent $15).

          At least that’s how I see it.

          • Visitor

            I think compilation CDs were what caused Napster etc. to kick off. They created a market for single tracks, a generation of music fans more interested in tracks than in albums and staying faithful towards a handful of favourite acts.

            By starting to market the likes of “Now That’s What I Call Music” etc, the biz started digging its own grave. Personally I think it’s a pity, because I consider the album an important artform that the kids should respect (plus the CD still has superior audio compared to any compressed format), but the biz sort of had the blame itself, by creating a generation of kids more interested in tracks than cohesive albums and cohesive band careers.

    • GGG

      Yea…you can probably stop saying this now. We read it the first 40 times. Also, seriously, go on Spotify. The VAST MAJORITY of new music is on there. So your point is just stupid.

      • Visitor

        “you can probably stop saying this now. We read it the first 40 times”

        Good titles and slogans are funny that way.

        I only used it once since I coined it — and you already think you see it all over the place.

        It carries so much weight because you know it’s true.

    • Visitor

      This isn’t nearly as clever as you believe it is.

  2. Lynch

    Out of curiosity, why the late entry into Spotify if it’s been on both Rdio and Rhapsody for ages? Especially if the other services don’t have nearly as many paid subscribers?

    • money

      Not on spotify because some artists do not want to be included on ad-supported models and spotify won’t block albums from the free that are on paid.

  3. DMN

    So, now, that the owners of 3rd most valuable catalogue on the the planet have decided that Spotify is the future…will DMN stop running anti – Spotify stories

    Celebrate the next historical shift in the music consumption.

  4. Me

    Haha, you can call Pink Floyd Spotify holdouts, because they definitely have been holding out.

  5. Visitor

    Well as long as Yves Yvenvule holds out Spotify is doomed.

    • GGG

      Haha, well, we have to see if his next album hits number one. He is huge in Cambodia now, according to his Facebook…

      • Fatso

        I bet all 3 of the Spotify subscribers in Cambodia will be pretty upset though. Perhaps they will even go as far as writing an angry message on his facebook.

  6. David

    As has already been pointed out, the Pink Floyd catalog has been on subscription-only streaming services for ages. The only obstacle to putting it on Spotify has been the lower royalties paid on Spotify’s ad-supported streams, and Spotify’s refusal to confine it to paying subscribers. So the interesting question now is whether Pink Floyd and/or their management have caved in, or whether Spotify has decided to pay a higher (subsidised?) royalty as the price for plugging this major gap in their own catalog.

    • MatZOH

      Metallica seems to have negotiated a very healthy cash deal from Spotify but there are hazards to this type of business practice.

    • Visitor

      If they get their 1 million plays at $0.005 = $5,000 in their pocket for 1 song.

      They do have pulse on spotify (australia) and wiped out all the other songs, they did have bits of the wall and bits of the dark side of the moon on spotify as well but all gone for now.

      I think this a test to see how much they could make from 1 song, just think if they had 20 1 million plays songs and you suddenly see how much can be made just from spotify.

      To be honest I have no problems with them asking for 1 million plays to get everything they have onto spotify as I’d like to hear all the stuff they have.

      So I will be streaming this song when I can to help them out, it’s not like their not getting paid nor being screwed over by not getting paid something for the plays either.

  7. David

    There is a gaping contradiction in the attitudes towards streaming held by the different participants. The record labels are willing to agree to streaming because the data so far has convinced them that it does not canibalise sales. It is additional ‘free money’. Artists and their management have for the most part been willing to go along with this, despite grumbling about the small amounts they are getting from streaming.

    The streaming services themselves, in contrast, clearly see streaming as the future of music consumption, which will inevitably replace purchases of CDs or downloads. See numerous statements by Daniel Ek along these lines.

    The obvious contradiction is that in the long run these positions can’t both be true. If streaming replaces CDs and downloads, then by definition it canibalises sales. This would not necessarily reduce the total revenue going to artists and labels, if the streaming services themselves generate enough revenue to replace it. If every adult took out a paid subscription at the current rates – or paid an equivalent amount as part of a ‘bundled’ package of internet/telecom services – this would be more than enough to replace the current average spending on CDs and downloads, which across the population as a whole is quite small.

    It is much more doubtful whether a mainly ad-funded business model, free to the user, can generate enough revenue. The ad-funded streaming services are competing for advertising with many other advertising media. The one advantage of music services is that the type of music a user listens to is a good indicator of their tastes and demographic traits, but I must say I have not noticed Spotify serving different ads with different types of music. I haven’t seen much sign yet that Spotify understands that with its present business model it is, like Google, primarily an advertising company.

  8. @JPNSL

    Pink Floyd is asking for 1 million streams to unlock. But there’s no transparency with Spotify streaming, no counter. So you just have to take their word for it that they got to 1 million. This is why I like Rdio a million times better than Spotify. I can actually see play counts. I love that. Why doesn’t Spotify want you to see that?

    • radiowaves

      Spotify has added play counts to at least the top 10 tracks on most artist pages. Maybe that’s a sign they will do so for all tracks in the near future.

  9. radiowaves

    Apparently they reached 1M streams today. The catalog has been “unlocked”.